Pinecrest vs Richmond soccer 02.jpg

Pinecrest's Landon McMinimy steps toward the ball against Richmond's Bryan Stanback (7) Thursday during the Sandhills Athletic Conference opener for both teams.

More than 440 days since the last time it last played in a competitive high school game, the Pinecrest boys soccer team came out with fire early at home against Richmond on Thursday.

Senior Nick Vences started off his big output in the match with a goal 40 seconds into the contest as the Patriots ran away with a 7-0 Sandhills Athletic Conference win.

Vences scored twice, and assisted on a pair of goals. His final goal capped off the night in the 79th minute.

“We’ve been training pretty much since August and that’s a long time to wait,” Pinecrest coach Jeremy Blake said. “Now they are just ready to put it out there on the field.”

The Patriots (1-0) added a second goal 10 minutes after Vences’ first score when the senior passed off to junior Landon McMinimy for a goal. The pair switched roles and connected for the final goal in the match as well.

Just like the first half, Pinecrest jumped on the Raiders early in the second half when senior Johnny Grgurevic converted on a pass from Gray Smith for a goal. Smith scored a goal eight minutes later as he came away with a loose ball in the box that Richmond failed to clear, making it a 4-0 Pinecrest lead.

The lopsided score allowed Blake to work in all 26 on the roster Thursday night, making up for a lack of preseason chances to get live game experience.

“We got to look at all the players. We didn’t get a scrimmage in here and there weren’t a lot of days with the weather to get out and see where we fit,” Blake said. “We played all 26 players tonight and got to see different combinations to get us ready for Seventy-First tomorrow.”

The game at Seventy-First on Friday was postponed from Tuesday.

Gerald Ofosu added a goal in the 64th minute for the Patriots.

The Patriots will play on the road the next three games before hosting Scotland on Feb. 8.

Contact Jonathan Bym at (910) 693-2470 or jonathan@thepilot.com.

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